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DIY projects to turn your backyard into a summer oasis

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Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:39 am, Mon Jun 16, 2014.

(BPT) - The smell of fresh-cut grass, the cascade of blooming flowers, and the laughter from outdoor entertaining are a few of summer’s favorite moments. With the warm weather in full bloom, you may be looking for easy do-it-yourself projects to spruce up your backyard before the guests arrive.

You aspire to create projects that infuse personality and individuality into your home. That creativity doesn’t have to be contained indoors. Finding ways to repurpose items while mixing in new materials helps extend character to the patio. Here are a few easy projects to help turn your backyard into a space you’ll look forward to showing off all summer long.

Keep your beverages cool

We spend time picking out the perfect furniture, coordinating cushions, and planting our favorite flowers to create an inviting outdoor entertaining area. And in the summer heat, coolers become a necessary addition to keep your guests comfortable and beverages cold. Unfortunately, they take away from the aesthetics of a well-designed space - but they don’t have to.

Consider giving a cooler an easy and inexpensive makeover to transform it into a permanent entertaining fixture on your patio or deck that complements your existing decor. Building an enclosure out of wood for the cooler to rest in and adding legs to create height brings beverages to the perfect level for your guests. Attach a metal bottle opener and handles or hooks for bar towels to perfect your new cocktail showpiece. This innovative and inexpensive project leaves you with enough money left over to splurge on fun party accessories.

Entertain with a (re)purpose

Headboards have made a big splash in DIY projects recently. They’ve been repurposed in bench projects, coat racks, or even shelving units. Before passing over an old headboard at the neighborhood garage sale or purchasing an expensive table for your patio, consider reinventing an old headboard into a custom patio cocktail table. Kentucky DIYer and Interior Designer, Tracie Stoll, offers a simple, step-by-step tutorial on how to build a cocktail table with a built-in beverage cooler on her blog, cleverlyinspired.com.

“Picnic tables with coolers have popped up all over the Web for the past few years,” she says. “I love the fact that people seem more willing now more than ever to create something new with something they may already have on hand. Products like Elmer’s ProBond Advanced, make projects so much easier and approachable to a ‘newbie’ DIYer. I encourage folks to ‘think outside of the box’ and see objects for other purposes than their original intention. It is truly what makes a home unique.”

Unlike traditional construction glues that can leave a foamy mess after drying, non-toxic ProBond Advanced is ideal for home DIY projects, because it can bond so many different materials, like metal to wood or ceramic to drywall, without leaving a foam residue. It’s also non-toxic and 100 percent weatherproof, making it the perfect adhesive for outdoor projects.

Create nooks and crannies

A key in successful furniture placement is to ensure balance. A well-placed room helps create the feel of a larger, more inviting environment. That means making sure corners receive equal attention, whether it be with a plant, an accent chair, or a fun feature. The same rules apply when you plan a layout for your patio or deck.

Conceal outdoor tools and toys or create private conversation nooks with unique design elements. An affordable DIY project is to create a privacy screen constructed from materials you may already have laying around your home. By simply cutting one or two standard, old doors in half vertically, painting or staining the wood, adding hinges, hooks and a few metal shelves you can create a decorative privacy screen for the items you’d prefer to stay out of view as well as an organizational element for gardening tools or a barbecue set. It also adds an interesting feature that brings visual appeal to your neglected corner.

Your backyard is an extension of your home. Don’t limit your creativity to indoor rooms. Repurposing items in new and exciting ways can transform your backyard into an area you can fall in love with, without having to bury your budget.

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